73 pages 2 hours read

Margaret Atwood


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2013

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Literary Context: Oryx and Crake and Technological Utopias

The first novel of the trilogy, Oryx and Crake (2004), begins at what seems like the end of the world. Before Crake pulls the metaphorical pin, society is unquestionably mired in a technological dystopia. Jimmy, the protagonist of the first book, grows up in the literally insulated world of Corps compounds among the privileged within a society dictated by corporate totalitarianism. As the child of Corp scientists, Jimmy moves through the pipeline that identifies potential and sends Corp children through to an assigned school and then assigned employment. Readers see this technological utopia through Jimmy’s eyes as a child. His mother, who resists and questions the Corps, seems unstable and then absent. His father complies, and he seems to be the stable parent. Neither are warm nor nurturing. Then, Jimmy meets Glenn, and they become best friends. Unlike Jimmy, who is outgoing and witty, Glenn is brilliant but socially uninterested. Glenn’s father was murdered by the Corps (officially labeled a death by suicide), so he lives with his mother and “Uncle” Pete who are as inattentive as Jimmy’s parents. Like teenagers in any technologically enhanced era, Jimmy and Glenn spend time smoking weed, playing